We had the pleasure of popping over to meet the nice people at Cyrus Audio for a spot of training and a guided tour of their factory facilities. Based in Huntingdon Cambridge, Cyrus Audio are the quintessential example of British audio, famous for their exacting standards and brilliant engineering skills. Cyrus have always manufactured their designs into small chassis' which has become symbolic of the brand.
This has posed its own engineering challenges but it is something Cyrus have always overcome, and the sound quality achieved from these compact units is truly excellent.
We started with the factory tour. This was split down into several stations where we were treated to seeing a Mono 300 being populated, where skillful hands at each assembly point carried out specified tasks to a high degree of accuracy. Each unit then went through an extensive testing process with every input plugged in and a speaker load applied. Cyrus’s own testing software runs a simulation which checks over every variable which the unit could encounter. This quickly identifies any potential issues, at which point failed units are returned to the production line for correction and passed units proceed on to soak testing. This involves CD players being put through a 14 hour simulation to make sure shipped units meet their stringent standards. A rather impressive operation which I thoroughly enjoyed seeing, and it is easy to see why Cyrus has been a staple name in Hi-Fi for many decades.
The other benches in the factory area are dedicated to maintenance and upgrades. Laden with parts and equipment, audio analysers, flutter meters, function generators, multi-meters, oscilloscopes, and more, it reminded me just how much Cyrus treasures its older customers and inspires loyalty with their efforts to support legacy equipment. They even offer upgrade paths for a lot of their aging kit, bringing them right up to date with their latest specifications.
The next stage was a quick presentation about the company, its history and their future. Cyrus have always stayed relevant through innovation and being at the forefront of the latest technology; whether be streamers, class D technology, aptx HD, they have found unique solutions for integrating them into a HiFi environment. The SoundKey is a classic example of this, a portable in-line headphone amplifier and DAC. This small device makes the most of music stored on our phones which is becoming an ever more important source in day to day life for most people.
Finally we got down to some listening, Chris and Nick were kind enough to do all the demonstration work so for once I got to sit back and listen. We started off with a modest setup, KEF LS50 being run off a Cyrus ONE (100W Class D Integrated), as entry level systems go it is always a good combination. AC/DC's You Shook Me All Night Long's lively and foot tapping performance came with great command over the kick drum and extension which I have come to expect from the Cyrus One. Switching over to the 6 DAC 57W Class A/B Integrated added an element of warmth and highlighted the vibrato on the notes in Angus Youngs intro, while Brian Johnson's vocals were a little easier on the ears, however there was a trade off with there being less control on the lower end. The 82 DAC gave the best of both worlds and I heard more information with added clarity on the high hats and the decay time of symbol crashes which sounded more extended and natural.
The fantastic thing was as we kept going through the range, the Cyrus kit kept its same signature but we just got more from it every time. When we switched over to Pre/Power they also introduced a set of PMC 25.24 speakers into the mix to help show the added detail and extension possible on route to their flagship system. The biggest difference for me came when they introduced the DAC XP Signature. As they were using purely the analogue outputs from a Stream Xa for each demo, it meant we were only listening to the Pre-amp section and it was like night a day. It all ended with the DAC XP Signature, PSX-R and a pair of Mono X300 which they allowed us to go nuts with the music selection (my personal favourite part).
After we finished a few hours of listening, our last task of the day was for Andy and I to get our QX certification. After a tutorial and quick poke around the inside of a streamer and integrated amplifier, we were put to the test and had to carry out the upgrades. Happily, I can say we both passed with flying colours, and can now offer the QX upgrades in-store.
All around it was a fantastic day! It was great to meet the faces and brains behind the brand and when you see the passion they exude you know why Cyrus continues to be a success that it is. We are looking forward to hosting the Cyrus UK tour later in the year (details to be announced) and this will give you a chance to meet some of the team as well.
If you want to book a demonstration on any of the Cyrus equipment, we are a full signature dealer and have almost the entire range on demonstration, so just give us a call.